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The Duality of Picture Perception and the Robustness of Perspective

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Since the phenomenological analyses of picture perception by Edmund Husserl in the beginning of the last century, quite a few researchers have suggested emphatically that our perception of pictures has a dual nature. In short, when viewing a picture, the observer is aware of the picture as a flat object in perceived physical space and, simultaneously, of the pictorial space. Yet, despite a lot of phenomenological cogency, the concept of duality has had, at most, only a minor impact on vision science although it points to serious shortcomings of the common explanatory framework concerning picture perception and visual perception in general. In this article, a theoretical link between the duality of picture perception and the so-called robustness of perspective phenomenon is established and, extending an experimental design used by Vishwanath, Girshick, and Banks, resultant predictions empirically investigated. The results show empirical support for the dual nature of picture perception and pose a further challenge to theoretical accounts of both the robustness of perspective phenomenon and picture perception in general.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany


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